Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ottawa's Green Bin Program - Time for City Council to Lead

An Open Letter to Ottawa City Council and Residents
RE: Residential Solid Waste Service Level Review Recommendations


This open letter is being posted on my blog, The Fifth Column ( http://the5thc.blogspot.com/ ) and being sent via email to the the following city councillors:
Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca
Allan.Hubley@ottawa.ca
Marianne.Wilkinson@ottawa.ca
David.Chernushenko@ottawa.ca


There is a time for politicians to follow and a time for politicians to lead. If one of our goals is to make Ottawa a Green City then Ottawa City Council will have to provide leadership to make it happen.

We will never become a Green City if City Council punishes those that are doing the right thing and rewards those that are part of the problem.

There have been issues raised regarding animals getting into Green Bins and maggots in Green Bins. I have never had these issues with our Green Bin, probably because the Green Bins are more secure than most garbage cans. However, I have had them with our garbage containers, but very few times over 30 years living in Ottawa. The fact is that the colour of the container has nothing to do with these problems.

These problems relate to organic waste so the best way to eliminate or reduce them is to increase how often the organic waste is picked up and that is what the recommended plan does.

So the solution is really simple. Residents just need to use the system the way it is designed. Recyclables go into the Blue and Black Bins, organics into the Green Bin and what little is left, mainly non-recyclable excessive packaging, goes into the garbage (which could be picked up monthly as far as I am concerned).

As far as using the Green Bin being more costly or complicated, it need not be. We do not need to listen to those that see this as an opportunity to sell us more products like specialized bags that contradict the very idea behind the Green Bin of eliminating and reducing unnecessary waste. Nor do we need to listen to the media that think they are being helpful by suggesting all sorts of complicated solutions to non-existing problems.

We do not use a bag for our kitchen container, indeed rather than the container that came with the Green Bin we use a kitchen garbage can without any liner and dump it into the Green Bin when full. This is more convenient as it is larger and needs dumping less often. We rinse it clean about once a week.

The Green Bin would probably not need lining either but we have cats and find the kitty litter does stick to the plastic so we line it with old newspapers. I put newspapers along the bottom and up the sides a bit and then all along the sides from the top to cover the inside completely. I did have to slightly compromise my "not buy anything new" policy by using a very small amount of masking tape to help hold the newspaper to the sides of the bin at the top. That was a ten minute job the first time and under five minutes each time since and it does not need to be done each week as often the lining remains in the bin after dumping.


You can also use outdoor composting bags by cutting them down a few inches but that again requires more unnecessary consumption and waste.

It is very clear that there really should not be any controversy here. All that is required is for people to use the waste reduction and collection system the way it is designed to be used.

Unless the City wants to abandon any hope of being a Green City, City Council must support those that are doing the right thing, not those that are part of the problem.


To read more about my views on the Green Bin Program please see The Fifth Column: Why Sabotage The Green Bin Program

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that the obvious even needs to be spoken, but you have spoken it well. I would also like to see a maximum put on garbage bags. With proper recycling, it is more or less impossible to fill multiple bags a week. So your idea of monthly garbage pickup would work perfectly for anybody who follows the "obvious" and simple recycling procedures. And even then, a bag maximum would seem appropriate.